Plume was founded in 1970 as the trade paperback imprint of New American Library. In its early history, Plume focused primarily on nonfiction titles, publishing approximately 35 titles per year. In the early 1980s, as trade paperbacks were rapidly becoming the format of choice among a large segment of book buyers, Plume began expanding its reach, and became recognized as one of the pre-eminent trade paperback imprints. The 1980’s saw Plume make its mark with a number of major bestsellers, including Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby, Erica Jong‘s Fanny, Russell Baker‘s Growing Up, and Gloria Steinem’s Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, among others. Now, in 2014, Plume is publishing 85 to 100 titles a year, and its backlist currently encompasses approximately 700 titles.
Throughout its history, Plume has been dedicated to voices previously neglected by mainstream publishing. The pioneering program in multicultural literature, which began with Toni Morrison and Jamaica Kincaid, has expanded to include ground-breaking works by Latino, African-American, and Asian-American authors. Plume publishes such notable writers as Julia Alvarez, Bernice McFadden (Sugar), Gish Jen, and August Wilson (Fences), among many others. Plume was also a pioneer in gay publishing, with such classics as Edmund White‘s A Boy’s Own Story and Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance, which built the foundation for an exceptional gay and lesbian publishing program that is still going strong with Judy Shepard’s The Meaning of Matthew and Dan Savage and Terry Miller’s ground-breaking It Gets Better.
Plume’s acclaimed fiction list boasts many bestselling and prize-winning authors, including Dorothy Allison (Bastard out of Carolina), David Benioff (City of Thieves), Tracy Chevalier (including The Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Last Runaway), Jennifer Chiaverini (Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker), Lev Grossman (The Magicians, The Magician King and The Magician’s Land), Sarah Jio (Blackberry Winter, The Violets of March, Goodnight June), Joyce Carol Oates (We Were the Mulvaneys), Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You, One Last Thing Before I Go), and Jussi Adler-Olson’s Department Q Novels.
Bestselling, quality, narrative and prescriptive nonfiction is another area in which Plume takes special pride, publishing Eckert Tolle (A New Earth), Jill Bolte Taylor (My Stroke of Insight), Daniel Levitin (This is Your Brain on Music), Neil Young (Waging Heavy Peace), Damien Echols (Life After Death) and Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman (The Dude and the Zen Master).
Plume’s dynamic backlist is nothing if not diverse, including Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged), titles by the major twentieth-century writer and thinker, George Orwell (Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four), Stephen King (volumes 1-4 of The Dark Tower series) Anne Rice (writing as A.N. Roquelaure, The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy) and Pat Barker’s Booker Prize winning The Ghost Road (part of her Regeneration Trilogy).
With Todd Wilbur‘s Top Secret Recipes series, to Putting Food By and Total Juicing, the cookbook list offers both the traditional and the practical. The business and personal finance list is likewise a mix of the classic and the cutting-edge, featuring everything from Jason Kelly‘s Neatest Little Guide to Investing to John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man to Neffinger and Kohut’s Compelling People.
Plume’s bestselling diet and health category leads with Robert Lustig (Fat Chance) Gretchen Reynolds (The First 20 Minutes) Dr. David Burns (The Feeling Good Handbook) Dr. Andrew Weil (You Can’t Afford to Get Sick) and Mira Kirshenbaum (Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay).
While Plume publishes bestselling reprints in trade paperback, it also has a dynamic and bestselling original publishing program, with recent bestsellers in nonfiction as varied as James Wesley Rawles’s How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, Cracked.com’s You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News and The De-Text Book, and Hugh Murphy’s T-Rex Trying, as well as Going Somewhere by Brian Benson and Jolie Kerr’s My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…And Other Things You can’t Ask Martha.
Plume’s original fiction program is equally as varied and dynamic with fine novels by authors including Jason Porter (Why Are You So Sad?) and New York Times Bestsellers by Sarah Jio (The Violets of March, Blackberry Winter, Goodnight June) and Natasha Solomons (The House at Tyneford). Plume has also become the leader in the new publishing category of survival fiction, with recent original novels by G. Michael Hopf (The End, The Long Road and Sanctuary) and A. American (including Going Home, Surviving Home and Escaping Home).
Plume’s long-term commitment to writers and readers is stronger than ever. The publishing program continues to be vigorous and exciting—the best new trade paperback and eBooks in each of these categories will be added to Plume’s distinguished list.
Ivan Held is President of Putnam, Dutton, and Berkley. He currently oversees business, editorial, and publishing strategies for Putnam and Berkley.
Ivan started his career as a bookseller in Washington, DC, before moving to the publicity department at Random House, where he worked with authors ranging from Norman Mailer to General Colin Powell. In the late 1990s he was named VP/Associate Publisher and Marketing Director for the Viking imprint of Penguin. Before returning to Penguin in 2005, he founded the Random House Trade Paperbacks imprint at Random House.
Christine Ball is Senior Vice President, Publisher for Dutton, Putnam, and Berkley. She joined Dutton in 2008 as the Director of Publicity and Marketing. She was named Vice President in 2011 and Associate Publisher in 2012. She orchestrated and navigated the publicity for the highly controversial No Easy Day, securing the first ever hour-long interview for a book on 60 Minutes. Before joining Dutton, she had previously been Director of Publicity at Crown.
John Parsley oversees the editorial department and works closely with President Ivan Held and Senior VP, Publisher Christine Ball on acquisitions. John was previously VP, Executive Editor at Little, Brown, and he has edited many New York Times bestsellers and prize winners, including works by Harlan Coben, Walter R. Borneman, Seth Casteel, Col. Chris Hadfield, Oakley Hall, Annie Jacobsen, Sam Kean, Beth Macy, Don Mann, Kevin Mitnick, Joshua Ramo, Mariano Rivera, Willie Nelson, Tavis Smiley, Brad Stone, Max Uriarte, and Alan Weisman. Prior to Little, Brown he was with St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne.
THE SWOLY BIBLE: The Bro Science Way of Life by Dom Mazzetti (Plume) launched this week with a Reddit AMA on November 1 kicking things into gear. There were over 3 thousand comments on Dom’s AMA and buzz around the book continued to grow thanks to incredible fan postings about the book with the hashtag […]Read more >
Rap superstar Lil Wayne’s GONE ‘TIL NOVEMBER, published by Plume on Tuesday (10/11), has exploded on social media this week. Check out all of the #GoneTilNovember activity collected on Storify. Take a look at the incredible support from Lil Wayne’s own accounts, with Weezy tweeting to his 28 million followers, 50 million Facebook fans, and […]Read more >
Phoebe Robinson and her new book, YOU CAN’T TOUCH MY HAIR, which went on sale from Plume on Tuesday (10/4), are generating an incredible amount of publicity and celebrity social media attention. Check out the #YouCantTouchMyHair tweets and Instagram posts from Kevin Bacon, Danielle Brooks,Natasha Lyonne, Jill Soloway, John Hodgman,Carrie Brownstein and musician St. Vincent. […]Read more >